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True Legend

(Su Qi-Er)
Sponsored by: Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office

Montreal Premiere

  • Martial Arts
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  • Hong Kong / China
  • /
  • 2010
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  • 116 min
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  • 35mm
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  • Mandarin with English subtitles
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Official Selection, Berlin International Film Festival 2010

Screening Times

“Rabidly fun and cameo-packed” — Chris Barsanti, FILMCRITIC


Director: Yuen Woo-Ping
Screenplay: To Chi-Long
Cast: Vincent Zhao, Zhou Xun, Jay Chou, Michelle Yeoh, David Carradine
Producers: Bill Kong, Zhang Zhenyang
Print Source: Indomina Releasing



Beggar Su sits next to Wong Fei-Hong and Fong Sai-Yuk in the pantheon of folkloric kung fu heroes on whose tales China’s filmmakers have drawn for decades. His story has been told countless times, sometimes as outright comedy, sometimes with a note of tragedy, but never has it been presented in such a vivid, striking and epic fashion. TRUE LEGEND follows the many tortures and triumphs of his fabled life — his clash with his dangerously deranged brother-in-law, his descent into madness in pursuit of kung fu mastery, his collapse into abject drunken degradation and return to the pinnacle of martial arts power. Is this legend entirely true? That’s highly unlikely, but TRUE LEGEND is certainly a true kung fu crowd-pleaser of the highest order!

Yuen Woo-Ping, global cinema’s most highly regarded combat choreographer thanks to THE MATRIX and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, returns to the director’s chair for the first time since TAI CHI 2 over a decade ago for a film that revives and amplifies so much of what made the golden age of kung fu movies so rewarding. Deadly Five Venom palm attacks that seethe with evil mysticism! Drunken Monkey kung fu so woozy and wild, it borders on full-blown breakdancing! Oversized European brutes getting their comeuppance in the ring! And wow, what a cast! In the lead role is outstanding martial artist Vincent Zhao, aka Chiu Man-Cheuk, well known to Fantasia fans for his turns in THE BLADE and ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA IV and V. The role of his wife Ying goes to Zhou Xun (THE MESSAGE, THE BANQUET), a rising talent often mentioned alongside Zhang Ziyi and Vicki Zhao, while Andy On tackles the part of Yuan Lie, Ying’s tormented and terrifying brother. The cameos are extra special, though — the great Gordon Liu is an absolute joy as a rascally old sage, Michelle Yeoh infuses the film with her trademark grace and poise, and in the final role of a wild career that helped spread the gospel of kung fu in the West, David Carradine (like Liu, a veteran of KILL BILL) delivers a delightfully dastardly turn in the last reel!

—Rupert Bottenberg

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